To get a sense of who is truly in control of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), it is important to understand the ownership structure of the business. We can see that institutions own the lion's share in the company with 64% ownership. In other words, the group stands to gain the most (or lose the most) from their investment into the company.
Since institutional have access to huge amounts of capital, their market moves tend to receive a lot of scrutiny by retail or individual investors. Therefore, a good portion of institutional money invested in the company is usually a huge vote of confidence on its future.
In the chart below, we zoom in on the different ownership groups of Walt Disney.
What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Walt Disney?
Many institutions measure their performance against an index that approximates the local market. So they usually pay more attention to companies that are included in major indices.
As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in Walt Disney. This can indicate that the company has a certain degree of credibility in the investment community. However, it is best to be wary of relying on the supposed validation that comes with institutional investors. They too, get it wrong sometimes. It is not uncommon to see a big share price drop if two large institutional investors try to sell out of a stock at the same time. So it is worth checking the past earnings trajectory of Walt Disney, (below). Of course, keep in mind that there are other factors to consider, too.
Since institutional investors own more than half the issued stock, the board will likely have to pay attention to their preferences. Walt Disney is not owned by hedge funds. Looking at our data, we can see that the largest shareholder is The Vanguard Group, Inc. with 7.9% of shares outstanding. In comparison, the second and third largest shareholders hold about 6.3% and 3.8% of the stock.
Our studies suggest that the top 25 shareholders collectively control less than half of the company's shares, meaning that the company's shares are widely disseminated and there is no dominant shareholder.
While it makes sense to study institutional ownership data for a company, it also makes sense to study analyst sentiments to know which way the wind is blowing. There are a reasonable number of analysts covering the stock, so it might be useful to find out their aggregate view on the future.
Insider Ownership Of Walt Disney
The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. Company management run the business, but the CEO will answer to the board, even if he or she is a member of it.
I generally consider insider ownership to be a good thing. However, on some occasions it makes it more difficult for other shareholders to hold the board accountable for decisions.
Our data suggests that insiders own under 1% of The Walt Disney Company in their own names. Being so large, we would not expect insiders to own a large proportion of the stock. Collectively, they own US$53m of stock. In this sort of situation, it can be more interesting to see if those insiders have been buying or selling.
General Public Ownership
With a 36% ownership, the general public, mostly comprising of individual investors, have some degree of sway over Walt Disney. This size of ownership, while considerable, may not be enough to change company policy if the decision is not in sync with other large shareholders.
I find it very interesting to look at who exactly owns a company. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too.
I like to dive deeper into how a company has performed in the past. You can access this interactive graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow, for free.
If you are like me, you may want to think about whether this company will grow or shrink. Luckily, you can check this free report showing analyst forecasts for its future.
NB: Figures in this article are calculated using data from the last twelve months, which refer to the 12-month period ending on the last date of the month the financial statement is dated. This may not be consistent with full year annual report figures.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
Join A Paid User Research Session
You’ll receive a US$30 Amazon Gift card for 1 hour of your time while helping us build better investing tools for the individual investors like yourself. Sign up here